Numerous controlled substances have either been prohibited or limited to prescription use in the United States because of the War on Drugs. In recent years, numerous communities have seen an increase in the number of medical emergencies stemming for the use of synthetic drugs—substances made with legal chemical compounds that are intended to mimic the effects of certain controlled substances.
In 2015, state lawmakers expanded provisions of the Texas Controlled Substances Act to outlaw more chemicals and make it easier for prosecutors to obtain convictions in cases involving synthetic drugs. The grading of criminal charges in synthetic drug cases depends on the amount and activity involved, but the possible consequences of a conviction can be every bit as severe as those that would have resulted from the illegal drugs such substances were intended to mimic.
Lawyer for Synthetic Drugs / Synthetic Marijuana Arrests in Georgetown, TX
If you were arrested for alleged possession of, manufacture of, delivery of, or possession with intent to deliver any kind of synthetic drug in Central Texas, it is in your best interest to immediately retain legal counsel. Price & Twine, PLLC represents clients accused of drug crimes in Round Rock, Cedar Park, Killeen, Georgetown, Liberty Hill, Temple, and many surrounding areas of Williamson County and Bell County.
Georgetown criminal defense attorney Michael J. Price can fight to help you achieve the most favorable outcome to your case, including possibly having the criminal charges reduced or dismissed. Call (512) 354-1880 to take advantage of a free, confidential consultation that will let our lawyer provide an honest and thorough evaluation of your case.
Texas Synthetic Drugs / Synthetic Marijuana Information Center
- What are some of the kinds of synthetic drugs that can result in criminal charges?
- What are the consequences of being convicted of a synthetic drugs crime?
- Where can I learn more about synthetic drugs and synthetic marijuana in Georgetown?
Synthetic drugs come in many different varieties. One of the most common is synthetic marijuana, or synthetic cannabinoids commonly referred to or marketed as “potpourri” or “incense.”
A few of the popular brand names of synthetic cannabinoids include, but are not limited to:
- Zero Gravity;
- Dead Man Walking;
- Atomic Bomb;
- Black Widow;
- King Cobra;
- Head Trip;
- Bombay Blue;
- Red Magic;
- California Dreams;
- Daisy Potpourri; and
- Mr. Nice Guy.
In addition to synthetic cannabinoids, another common type of synthetic drugs are synthetic cathinones made with unregulated research chemicals. Synthetic cathinones often come in the form of a white or brown crystal-like powder intended to have the euphoric effects of such illegal drugs as methamphetamine, 3,4-methylenedioxymethamphetamine (MDMA, Molly, or Ecstasy), or cocaine.
Such synthetic cathinones are more commonly known as “plant food, “plant fertilizer, or “bath salts.” Another synthetic drug similar to cathinones is called “flakka,” made from a compound called alpha-Pyrrolidinopentiophenone (or alpha-PVP).
Popular synthetic cathinones include, but are not limited to:
- Blue Silk;
- Hurricane Charlie;
- Meow Meow;
- White Night;
- White Lightning;
- Ocean Snow;
- Vanilla Sky;
- Ivory Wave;
- Pure Ivory;
- Cloud Nine;
- Snow Leopard;
- Ocean Burst;
- Lunar Wave;
- Sextasy; and
- Purple Sky.
Texas Health and Safety Code § 481.002(6) defines a controlled substance analogue as a substance with a chemical structure substantially similar to the chemical structure of a controlled substance in Schedule I or II or Penalty Group 1, 1-A, 2, or 2-A, or a substance specifically designed to produce an effect substantially similar to, or greater than, the effect of a controlled substance in Schedule I or II or Penalty Group 1, 1-A, 2, or 2-A. Texas Health and Safety Code § 481.106 further establishes that for the purposes of the prosecution of an offense under involving the manufacture, delivery, or possession of a controlled substance, Penalty Groups 1, 1-A, 2, and 2-A include a controlled substance analogue that
- has a chemical structure substantially similar to the chemical structure of a controlled substance listed in the applicable penalty group; or
- is specifically designed to produce an effect substantially similar to, or greater than, a controlled substance listed in the applicable penalty group.
Many synthetic drugs are typically classified as a controlled substance in Penalty Group 2-A. Under Texas Health and Safety Code § 481.1161, a person who knowingly possesses a controlled substance listed in Penalty Group 2-A can face the following charges, depending on the amount of the synthetic drug:
- Two Ounces or Less — Class B misdemeanor punishable by up to 180 days in jail and/or fine of up to $2,000;
- Four Ounces or Less But More Than Two Ounces — Class A misdemeanor punishable by up to one year in jail and/or fine of up to $4,000;
- Five Pounds or Less But More Than Four Ounces — State jail felony punishable by up two years in state jail and/or a fine of up to $10,000;
- 50 Pounds or Less But More Than 5 pounds — Third-degree felony punishable by up to 10 years in prison and/or a fine of up to $10,000;
- 2,000 Pounds or Less But More Than 50 pounds — Second-degree felony punishable by up to 20 years in prison and/or a fine of up to $10,000;
- More Than 2,000 Pounds — Punishable by a minimum of five years up to 99 years or life in prison and/or a fine of up to $50,000.
Texas Health and Safety Code § 481.113 establishes that a person who knowingly manufactures, delivers, or possesses with intent to deliver a controlled substance listed in Penalty Group 2-A can face the following charges, depending on the amount of the synthetic drug:
- Less Than One Gram — State jail felony punishable by up two years in state jail and/or a fine of up to $10,000;
- One Gram or More But Less Than Four Grams — Second-degree felony punishable by up to 20 years in prison and/or a fine of up to $10,000;
- Four Grams or More But Less Than 400 Grams — First-degree felony punishable by up to 99 years in prison and/or a fine of up to $10,000;
- 400 Grams or More — Punishable by a minimum of 10 years up to 99 years or life in prison and/or a fine of up to $100,000.
State v. Moseley, 09-14-00279-CR (Tex. App.—Beaumont, 2015) — Cameron Scott Moseley was indicted for intentionally or knowingly possessing a controlled substance, “namely a synthetic chemical compound that is a cannabinoid receptor agonist and mimics the pharmacological effect of naturally occurring cannabinoids of four hundred grams or more.” He filed a motion to quash the indictment, alleging that he did not commit an offense because no controlled substance listed in Penalty Group 2-A was named in the indictment and use of the “controlled substance analogue” provisions of the Texas Health and Safety Code was not allowed for substances that are alleged to be analogous to the controlled substances listed in Penalty Group 2-A. The trial court granted the motion, but the Ninth Court of Appeals reversed the trial court’s order and remanded the cause to the trial court for further proceedings after concluding that “the specific list of substances identified in the statute is non-exclusive and Penalty Group 2-A should be interpreted as including any ‘synthetic chemical compound that is a cannabinoid receptor agonist and mimics the pharmacological effect of naturally occurring cannabinoids[.]’”
McFadden v. United States, 576 U.S. ___ (2015) — In 2011, law enforcement officials in Charlottesville, Virginia, began investigating individuals at a local video store for suspected distribution of “bath salts.” One store owner agreed to make five controlled buys from Stephen McFadden, who had been selling bath salts to the store for several months. After a federal grand jury indicted McFadden on eight counts of distribution of controlled substance analogues and one count of conspiracy, McFadden argued that he did not know the substances he was distributing were regulated as controlled substances under the Analogue Act. The district court held that the state only needed to prove that the petitioner knew “the products were intended for human consumption” and the United States Court of Appeals for the Fourth Circuit affirmed, but the United States Supreme Court voted 9-0 to vacate and remand the case after concluding that the Controlled Substances Act requires the government to establish that the defendant knew he was dealing with a substance regulated under the Controlled Substances Act or the Controlled Substance Analogue Enforcement Act of 1986.
Price & Twine, PLLC | Georgetown Synthetic Drugs / Synthetic Marijuana Defense Attorney
Were you recently arrested anywhere in Central Texas for allegedly possessing, manufacturing, delivering, or possessing with intent to deliver a synthetic drug? Do not say anything to authorities without legal representation. Contact Price & Twine, PLLC as soon as possible.
Michael J. Price is an experienced criminal defense lawyer in Georgetown who aggressively defends alleged offenders all over Williamson County and Bell County, including Leander, Taylor, Hutto, Belton, Harker Heights, and several other nearby communities. He can review your case and help you understand all of your legal options as soon as you call (512) 354-1880 or complete an online contact form to schedule a free initial consultation.